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A guide to monetizing your passion 

June 19, 2017

Lifestyle Upgrade 101

Cover art Samantha Gonzales1

Starting May 29, we will be running a column by the bestselling authors of I Wish They Taught Money in School, Sharon W. Que and Clarissa Seriña‑de la Paz. The column will come out every Money Monday.

How often would you hear someone tell you to “follow your heart” when talking about money and income? Almost never maybe. Nowadays, people often think that earning money and following your heart are two things that are not mutually exclusive. But what if we tell you that it is possible to do both?

Let’s all agree on something first: we are all born with a passion, a burning desire to do something, something that makes us excited and gives us a natural high. Whether it’s a personal interest or a hobby, it’s something we are actually willing to do for free. But the good news is, we can also make money out of our passion. How then do we make this happen?


Know what you are passionate about

Art Samantha Gonzales

What are the things that you love doing? What activities spark joy and truly make you happy? What is something you’d be willing to really work hard for?

Clarissa: I love my job in advertising but I also found joy in teaching and singing. I have my full time job from Mondays to Fridays. Then, on Saturdays, I would teach in the university where I graduated from. And, when I have free time, I would accept singing gigs during weddings, concerts or parties.

Sharon: Selling was a gift I discovered when I was really young and still in school. As soon as I discovered this gift, I grabbed every opportunity that presented itself and sold all sorts of things from shoes, shirts, toys, supplements, even firecrackers.


Set boundaries and limitations

Art Samantha Gonzales

While we are passionate about doing certain things, it is also important to clearly define how far you will use this passion in generating additional income.

Sharon: It is very important to be clear on why you are doing this. That it’s a business even if you are doing it as a hobby and just for fun. It is important to know that you spend on a hobby whereas business brings in the money.

Clarissa: There’s a part of me that’s scared to make the things I’m passionate about as my only source of income because I have days when I’m not as inspired and I wouldn’t like to be forced into doing them just because I need the money. I don’t want to feel pressured to beat deadlines and meet quotas as I usually just want to do these out of love and fun.  So, it’s really important to be clear on why you’re doing this and up to what extent you’re willing to monetize your passion.

Set specific targets for your hobby‑turned‑business. For example, you love baking and you are willing to bake a few batches of cookies on a weekly basis to earn extra cash. Have a target in mind. Let’s say you will only take in three orders for the week. By doing so, you can still earn and do what you love, while avoiding burning yourself out. It will take some time and practice, but you will find the balance eventually.


Make a plan

Art Samantha Gonzales

What do I need to set this up? How much capital is needed? Where would this capital come from? What materials will be used? Who are my suppliers? All these are things you should be able to map out and think about. Luckily, for some ventures, it’s actually possible to start making money out of nothing.

Sharon: Sheer passion and burning desire were my only capital. What I just did was source out suppliers who would do business on a consignment basis. There are a lot of them out there who are willing to do this so, I started creating partnerships with them.

Clarissa: Skills and talents do not need start‑up costs at all. Since mine were service‑oriented, all I needed to do was market and sell myself to potential clients. Of course, I had to really think about what gigs I wanted to do and what stints I wanted to sign up for.


Do the actual work

Art Samantha Gonzales

Nobody becomes successful with just being passionate and wanting to do things. Make sure you don’t get trapped with perfecting your plans. Accept that your plans will be needing re‑work along the way anyway, so just go and start doing it. Invest your time and effort, and give it your best shot.


Stay hungry and keep learning

Art Samantha Gonzales

Couple your desire with hard work. Improve your craft and follow through with hard skills.

When we decided to be advocates of financial literacy by developing our books, we knew that there was a lot of work to be done. We discussed and thought about what we wanted to impart to our readers. We read even more articles and books to expand what we know about managing finances. We had to learn how it was to publish a book and how copyrights come into play. We even studied how online businesses and distribution work. All these took time, effort and a lot of management to translate our plans into reality.

During this venture, you will also face countless obstacles. Many times, you will question your worth and be pushed to doubt what you can do. But, never let it faze you. Do not shortchange yourself. Know your worth and learn to ask for a fair price. At the same time, always make sure you give it your best effort and talent. You are already doing something you love, might as well make others love your work as much as you do.

At the end of it all, you’ll realize that all the hard work and challenges are worth it.

Sharon: From toys and shirts, my passion in selling and business grew to real estate, billboard advertising and publishing. Although I’m still on my way to achieving all my dreams and business goals, I am loving this journey.

Clarissa: I need my creative outlet and I feel that I am in my element whenever I teach, speak in public or perform on stage. I feel great when I touch lives by sharing my gifts. I know I’m living my purpose when I see our readers and followers learn a thing or two, and completely change their money mindset. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that you earn from doing the things you love.

Your passion will start this journey but your actions will see it through. Persevere through the challenges because at the end of the day, you will be left with nothing but a full heart and a full pocket. 


Clarissa Seriña‑de la Paz and Sharon W. Que are financial literacy advocates and the bestselling authors of “I Wish They Taught Money in School” and “Money Grows on Trees” Check out their books at www.lifestyleupgrade101.com. Get 10% off, plus a free notepad and bookmark, by sharing this story with the hashtags #MoneyMonday and #SparkUp. Remember to make your post public!